New parental leave law kicks in, report non-compliance urges Cosatu
South Africa's new parental leave laws kicked in on 1 January, after President Cyril Ramaphosa promulgated the Labour Relations and the Labour Amendment acts in November 2018.
Parental leave now includes fathers and parents of babies born from surrogate mothers - they're entitled to ten days paid leave.
The move has been welcomed by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and deputy parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks describes it as a "huge achievement" won after years of lobbying.
He highlights the changes brought by the new regulations.
So (before) you could only access three days' family responsibility leave which covered your immediate family in the event of a birth, illness or death.Matthew Parks, Deputy parliamentary coordinator - Cosatu
Now when your child is born, as a parent or a father specifically or as a mother of a surrogate-born child you can claim ten days' parental leave... Ideally the employer should be paying you your normal pay but in the event an employer doesn't do that, you can then claim up to 66% of your salary from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.Matthew Parks, Deputy parliamentary coordinator - Cosatu
The trade union federation has already issued a warning to employers to comply and Parks says they should become familiar with the law in the spirit of progressiveness.
It's not going to have a disruptive effect on the economy because most people only have about three kids over a 40-year career span.Matthew Parks, Deputy parliamentary coordinator - Cosatu
Remember, the intention behind it is that you give support to the mother as she's healing from a difficult birth and you spend ten days bonding with your child, helping take care of it.Matthew Parks, Deputy parliamentary coordinator - Cosatu
He urges employees to report employers who do not comply.
Those employers will be found in violation of the law. They will be sanctioned with fines and so on and those workers will be protected - they will win those cases.Matthew Parks, Deputy parliamentary coordinator - Cosatu
For more from Parks, take a listen: